Following a successful research career at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), Matthias Koebel founded his own start-up by the name of Siloxene. With his company, Koebel has set his sights on commercializing a multifunctional material component that he discovered and researched during his time at Empa.
In a press release, Empa described this development as a sort of “miracle material” for the chemicals industry. In specific terms, this component is a silicon-based, molecular hybrid building material that measures only around a single nanometer in size. Using this material, the properties of adhesives, coatings or fillers can be enhanced depending on the product and in line with customer requirements. For example, coatings can be made more scratch-resistant, while shorter curing times are possible for adhesives. Empa draws a comparison between this material and the Crispr/Cas genetic scissors, which can be used to cure genetic diseases and which were awarded a Nobel Prize for Medicine.
With his new start-up based in Dübendorf in the canton of Zurich, Koebel is primarily seeking to target companies operating in the plastics processing, adhesives or sealants manufacturing, and construction materials industries. “Here, the regulatory hurdles are not as high and we can work with companies to optimize their products and processes relatively easily”, he explains in the press release.
At the moment, Koebel is focused on expanding his research and development department in addition to gaining further customers. His vision initially includes plans for a contract manufacturer to handle production of the macromolecule. “In the long term, however, I would like to set up our own production”, he underlines.